Baler center Kelsey Robledo draws a foul against Fremont Thursday. San Benito was eliminated from the CCS playoffs Saturday by Wilcox.
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In December, before his first season at the helm of the girls basketball team, head coach Mitch Burley has one goal: Get into the Central Coast Section playoffs and win.

Despite the team’s elimination in the quarterfinals of the CCS playoffs to No. 2 seeded Wilcox, the Balers accomplished that goal.

“I told the team after Thursday’s win, they accomplished what I sought out to do this year,” Burley said. “I’m so proud of what we did.”

The Balers season ended Saturday in Salinas, as the Balers couldn’t keep pace with Wilcox and lost 49-27.

In the game, the Balers started strong – at one point taking a 9-4 lead – but the superior size of Wilcox eventually wore the Balers thin.

“They just wore us out,” Burley said. “They just started showing why they were there.”

After San Benito took a 9-4 lead, Wilcox scored 18 of the game’s next 24 points to take a 22-15 halftime lead.

“They just started making their shots,” Burley said.

San Benito was led by Ellie Burley and Taylor Fabing, who each scored eight points. Kelsey Robledo added seven points in the loss.

In the second half, Wilcox imposed its will, outscoring the Balers 27-12 in the final two quarters. After San Benito scored 11 first-quarter points, the Wilcox defense limited the Balers to 16 points in the final three quarters.

“We played hard for the most part, but in the second half we couldn’t make our shots,” Burley said.

The season-ending loss came two days after the Balers came from behind to blow out Fremont 45-30 at Mattson Gym.

In the win, San Benito pulled away from Fremont with a second-half opening 10-0 run. In the second half, San Benito’s offense was driven by Robledo, who scored all 15 of her points in the final 16 minutes.

Madie LePore added 10 for the Balers in the win.

Regardless, Burley was happy with the way the season progressed, as the Balers reached his season-long goal, he said.

“We didn’t have a lot of experience so we weren’t quite sure what to expect when the season started,” Burley said. “But we accomplished what we set out to do.”

Next year, the Balers will lose leading-scorer Robledo, but will return all-leaguer Burley and sharpshooter Fabing. The coach expects the team to continue its success.

“They are a really great group of girls that are ready to compete each night,” he said. “We are not going to give up.”

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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